Every thought starts out with a word; that all important internal dialogue we use to guide us in everyday life. The process is simple and will always be as follows.
Words = thoughts
Thoughts = emotions
And as you know, we are emotionally-lead beings. We live and die by our emotional state. That emotional equilibrium guides us and structures what kind of day we are going to have by the feelings we acknowledge the very second we open our eyes in the morning. How many times have you awoken to that heavy dark feeling right in the pit of your stomach? Now, that is the feeling which then tells you – and structures – what kind of day is ahead.
Words (internal dialogue)
We use our words every single day, either with ourselves or with others; it’s how we communicate, how we let others know how we feel and what we think, and it is one of the most important parts of our internal set-up, because they all come from within. How we use these words with ourselves is equally important as how we use them with others, and more often than not we forget this key element and that’s where part of the problem lies. We get so focused on people-pleasing or trying to fit in, we forget that the most important person in our life has to be us. If we’re not happy, content, at peace, focused, energetic and overall in line and balanced, how on earth can we make sure others around us – loved ones, friends, family – are?
You can’t make someone feel whatever you’re not feeling. Yes, we all know what we are supposed to be, but that doesn’t mean we are. Let me explain exactly what I mean by this, and show you exactly how our internal dialogue can influence and control our emotional state.
This is called ‘times less troubled’.
So the first stage is find somewhere comfortable to sit and give yourself a few moments of peace.
In a second, once we drop down to a nice calm and relaxed state or as relaxed as comfort allows, take the following steps:
Start off with a really nice big deep breath and, as you exhale, I want you to drop every single muscle every single fibre in your body, and just slow your breathing down to a really slow, steady rate.
Close your eyes, and think of a time when you faced a certain difficulty in life, or a problem or situation with anxiety that didn’t sit comfortably with you.
Now, remember the feelings you had. Were they of sadness, worry, stress, fear, uncertainty leading to anxiety, or was it a feeling of just anxiety?
See what you observed in that moment, hear what you heard at the same time and feel that feeling.
Now start to fill in the surrounding details. What time of year was it? What environment were you in? Who was with you? Really focus and re-live that moment.
Now I want you to scale that feeling from 1-10, and make a note of it – even beside the paragraph here – write down your anxious and painful feeling (1 being low and 10 being high on the scale).
I need you to take a moment here, and drain that whole process from your mind. Take as long as you need and fade it from your thoughts, almost like letting water out of a bath; just let it all drain away as you simply breathe and relax.
Now, once we are clear, let’s go again.
I want you to think of a life which is anxiety-free. It can be anywhere in the world, a vacation, a romantic meal, time with your family or friends anywhere at all – you can even use a past location or experience here.
Now, I want you to look down on it and I want you to remember that this is the anxiety-free version of you, and I want you to notice the smile you are wearing.
I want you to see how less painful you appear. How free you look, how that whole healthy glow surrounds you.
Look at the difference in yourself, and look at that amazing level of contentment and happiness you feel. Really focus now and give it your all.
Who is with you, what are you doing, what time of year is it? I want you to listen to all the compliments people who have seen the old you are giving you. “You look amazing.” “I knew you would do this.” “Well done; you deserve to be back to normal.” “You look like a different person.”
Really focus on every single aspect here, and let it sit with you for 30-40 seconds.
Do me a favour, please? Write down your feeling, now.
Notice it’s totally different from the previous feeling. So what changed?
You as a person haven’t changed but the words you used to talk to yourself have. That whole internal dialogue is so important that we can sculpt, scope and manage our whole emotional state based on it. You have just managed, in the space of 2 minutes, to change your entire emotional state and mood, and now you sit and smile as the reality of the words hit home for you, probably for the first time in a long time.
So, how do we go about ensuring that we change how we use internal dialogue and make it a new pattern and a habitual trait? Well, that’s the good part, because we have already shown we can adapt and change our patterns and thoughts based on words. Here’s something to keep in mind: when you were brought into the world you arrived nearly perfect; I say ‘nearly’ because you have 2 pre-installed fears when you are born.
Loud noises and falling.
Everything else has been taught or learned, including how you are accustomed to talking to yourself – that whole internal dialogue. Do you remember a time when you didn’t talk to yourself full of negativity and self-doubt? Well, somewhere along the line we changed that, and now we are simply going to change it back.
At a conscious level, I want you to look at the two options I am going to give you in relation to the scenario I want to run by you. Again, we are going to use logic and fact over emotional state here.
You have been put in charge of a young person between the ages of 5-10, it’s your job to take them from where they are now to adulthood, and your biggest tools are your words, and the actions associated with those words.
Do we remind them about, and focus on, every mistake or failing they come across?
Do we predominately use words and statements like:
You can’t do that.
You’re going to fail.
Don’t even bother to attempt it.
You’re not good enough.
Save your energy – just accept you will fail.
You won’t ever understand that.
Your ideas are stupid.
Accept your place in life.
Second place is first loser and you always fail.
OR Option 2
We focus on love, compassion, understanding, growth, acceptance, learning, desire, and diligence. We use statements like:
If you don’t try, you won’t know.
Nothing is a failure; everything is a learning opportunity.
If at first we don’t succeed, try a different way and go again.
You can do whatever you set your mind to.
You are always enough.
You are perfect as you are.
We are all created different, that’s what makes us unique.
You can and you will achieve everything you set your mind to.
So what option do we raise and guide this young person with? Well I hope you all pick option 2 and we can look at that in a moment, but for now, let’s look at the reality of choosing option 1.
Option 1 is going to do more damage than any stick or stone will ever do. You will knock every bit of confidence out of them from the get-go. You will cause massive self-doubt, loss of self-esteem, and turn what could be a happy-go-lucky young person into a recluse who chooses to never try, and fail, before the event or life choice even takes place. You will mentally break the young person and they will have a very hard struggle from that moment onwards.
Option 2, however, gives them the right self-esteem, boosts confidence, enables understanding of the bigger picture, and gives them a drive and determination to attempt everything in life they want, knowing they always have the fall-back of your love and understanding should things go wrong. It will make them brave and bold enough to attempt anything life throws at them: it is without question the way to treat someone with all the love, understanding and compassion in the world.
So my question to you now is:
WHY ARE YOU TREATING YOURSELF LIKE OPTION 1?
And here is the worst part; we genuinely believe what we tell ourselves, we truly believe the words we use are true and accurate. I mean, we don’t usually ever lie to ourselves, and if we do, we spot it as a fabrication straight away. It’s like the therapists of old putting you into a trance and telling you that chocolate tastes bad and you won’t eat it anymore. Straight away, the conscious mind spots that as a lie and says, “No its not – it tastes good. That’s why I keep eating it.”
We can never lie to ourselves and we truly believe the inner dialogue we use as true and accurate.
If you are treating yourself like option 1 time after time, you condition yourself to believe, so when you come out with statements like ‘this anxiety is controlling my life’ you genuinely believe it. It’s what is known as a limiting belief, and for any belief to be true, it needs support. So the first thing we need to do is to challenge our limiting beliefs and change the internal dialogue we use.
Let’s try something a bit different.
I want you all to switch over to option 2. I want you to treat and speak to yourself the way you would if you were in charge of a young adult’s or a loved one’s emotional balance, knowing what you know now. I want you to treat yourself today with all the things we have just spoken about. Love compassion, understanding, and passion – because if we can’t treat ourselves like that how are we ever meant to treat anyone else with that outlook?
How can we experience true, unconditional love and understanding if we don’t know what it feels like in the first place? That has to start with you. The rule here is very simple: if we wouldn’t treat or speak to a loved one like this then we don’t do it to ourselves. Everything we do constantly becomes pattern and habit, and right now the pattern and habit for your internal dialogue is on the wrong setting.
Remember – happiness by change and not chance. The anxiety hasn’t shifted with what we are doing up until now, so we change behaviour and outcomes and we try again, and you will be really surprised at how the world will look when we treat ourselves with the right kind of love and attention. It all has to start from that internal dialogue. So if today has started off on a negative, I want you to do the following for me – and this is called positive affirmation. This is where we have a conscious choice of the words we use or the words we start the day with.
I fully understand right now that you don’t love yourself enough to be too full-on with it, but you can change the direction it is going. Have you ever noticed that when you wake and tell yourself today is going to be hard-going, that, indeed, today is very hard-going? Again, we are pre-determining the outcome before the eventuality; all on the words you are using. Let me show you how we can adjust, using some very powerful internal dialogue. Take this book with you and find a mirror – one where you can see the look in your eyes when we do this part. Now I want you to really focus and give this part everything you have: honestly, this is a game changer, right now.
Look at yourself in the mirror.
Focus on the look in your eyes, and the expression on your face, and repeat after me:
I do not know what’s coming my way today, but I do know that I control it and I will give this day every ounce of energy, focus and fight I have in me.
Now repeat it louder.
Now, say it with every bit of passion and drive you can muster, and see that look in your eyes changing, that expression getting stronger – you are changing emotional state with a positive affirmation. Now say it as loud as you can in your head and really give it everything you have; scream it in your head if you need to, and again, now, how strong are you starting to feel? I can actually sit and feel my whole internal emotional state change as I type this, I am screaming in my head right with you and it feels so very powerful.
Serenity NLP are leading the way with our approach and our outlook in dealith with Anxiety. We always work from the inside out and we never ever give in.